Guernsey’s working prison
Tuesday 15th January 2013, 8:00AM GMT.
Its newly acquired smoke-free status is just one sign of a quiet transformation going on behind the walls of Guernsey Prison.
In the first of a series about some other big changes taking place at Les Nicolles, Martyn Tolcher meets those who are leading the drive to make it a place that works both for prisoners and for the society whose laws they transgress…
ON THE first day of this year, Guernsey Prison became only the second in Europe to ban tobacco within its perimeter.
The move by acting governor David Matthews and his senior staff was guaranteed to make headlines, but the smoke-free initiative is just the latest in a series of radical measures that are designed to transform the establishment into a ‘working prison’.
‘Our vision is to try to reflect as much as possible what happens in society,’ Mr Matthews explained. ‘When a prisoner gets up in the morning he gets a chance to do some recreational sport, then he goes to work all day, the same as you and I do. Following work, there is a chance to associate or attend sport again.
‘We’ve had that vision for some time, but it’s only recently that we’ve really started making progress towards it.’
The last couple of years have seen the creation of an upgraded learning and skills centre and a new range of regimes to ‘promote purposeful activities’ among prisoners.
The Les Nicolles prison broke further fresh ground by inviting several private companies inside to provide new work streams, and a special licence is in place to enable low-risk prisoners to do proper paid jobs outside the institution without supervision during daytime hours.
The ROTL scheme, or ‘release on temporary licence’, is now fully established as a vital part of the prison’s steadily evolving rehabilitation and resettlement programme.
- Read the full report in today’s Guernsey Press